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Title: A retrospective tiered environmental assessment of the Mount Storm Wind Energy Facility, West Virginia,USA

Abstract

Bird and bat fatalities from wind energy projects are an environmental and public concern, with post-construction fatalities sometimes differing from predictions. Siting facilities in this context can be a challenge. In March 2012 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released Land-based Wind Energy Guidelines to assess collision fatalities and other potential impacts to species of concern and their habitats to aid in siting and management. The Guidelines recommend a tiered approach for assessing risk to wildlife, including a preliminary site evaluation that may evaluate alternative sites, a site characterization, field studies to document wildlife and habitat and to predict project impacts, post construction studies to estimate impacts, and other post construction studies. We applied the tiered assessment framework to a case study site, the Mount Storm Wind Energy Facility in Grant County, West Virginia, USA, to demonstrate the use of the USFWS assessment approach, to indicate how the use of a tiered assessment framework might have altered outputs of wildlife assessments previously undertaken for the case study site, and to assess benefits of a tiered ecological assessment framework for siting wind energy facilities. The conclusions of this tiered assessment for birds are similar to those of previous environmental assessmentsmore » for Mount Storm. This assessment found risk to individual migratory tree-roosting bats that was not emphasized in previous preconstruction assessments. Differences compared to previous environmental assessments are more related to knowledge accrued in the past 10 years rather than to the tiered structure of the Guidelines. Benefits of the tiered assessment framework include good communication among stakeholders, clear decision points, a standard assessment trajectory, narrowing the list of species of concern, improving study protocols, promoting consideration of population-level effects, promoting adaptive management through post-construction assessment and mitigation, and sharing information that can be used in other assessments.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3]
  1. ORNL
  2. No Affiliation
  3. Western EcoSystems Technology
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
OSTI Identifier:
1056989
Report Number(s):
ORNL/TM-2012/515
EB2502030; CEEB004
DOE Contract Number:  
DE-AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
wind energy wildlife

Citation Formats

Efroymson, Rebecca Ann, Day, Robin, and Strickland, M. Dale. A retrospective tiered environmental assessment of the Mount Storm Wind Energy Facility, West Virginia,USA. United States: N. p., 2012. Web. doi:10.2172/1056989.
Efroymson, Rebecca Ann, Day, Robin, & Strickland, M. Dale. A retrospective tiered environmental assessment of the Mount Storm Wind Energy Facility, West Virginia,USA. United States. doi:10.2172/1056989.
Efroymson, Rebecca Ann, Day, Robin, and Strickland, M. Dale. Thu . "A retrospective tiered environmental assessment of the Mount Storm Wind Energy Facility, West Virginia,USA". United States. doi:10.2172/1056989. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1056989.
@article{osti_1056989,
title = {A retrospective tiered environmental assessment of the Mount Storm Wind Energy Facility, West Virginia,USA},
author = {Efroymson, Rebecca Ann and Day, Robin and Strickland, M. Dale},
abstractNote = {Bird and bat fatalities from wind energy projects are an environmental and public concern, with post-construction fatalities sometimes differing from predictions. Siting facilities in this context can be a challenge. In March 2012 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) released Land-based Wind Energy Guidelines to assess collision fatalities and other potential impacts to species of concern and their habitats to aid in siting and management. The Guidelines recommend a tiered approach for assessing risk to wildlife, including a preliminary site evaluation that may evaluate alternative sites, a site characterization, field studies to document wildlife and habitat and to predict project impacts, post construction studies to estimate impacts, and other post construction studies. We applied the tiered assessment framework to a case study site, the Mount Storm Wind Energy Facility in Grant County, West Virginia, USA, to demonstrate the use of the USFWS assessment approach, to indicate how the use of a tiered assessment framework might have altered outputs of wildlife assessments previously undertaken for the case study site, and to assess benefits of a tiered ecological assessment framework for siting wind energy facilities. The conclusions of this tiered assessment for birds are similar to those of previous environmental assessments for Mount Storm. This assessment found risk to individual migratory tree-roosting bats that was not emphasized in previous preconstruction assessments. Differences compared to previous environmental assessments are more related to knowledge accrued in the past 10 years rather than to the tiered structure of the Guidelines. Benefits of the tiered assessment framework include good communication among stakeholders, clear decision points, a standard assessment trajectory, narrowing the list of species of concern, improving study protocols, promoting consideration of population-level effects, promoting adaptive management through post-construction assessment and mitigation, and sharing information that can be used in other assessments.},
doi = {10.2172/1056989},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2012},
month = {11}
}

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